Everyone has heard that the saying that the “devil is in the details”. In family law matters, this translates to “the details are important”. VERY important. Family law matters are case-sensitive.
Just like your online passwords may be case-sensitive and lock you out of your account if you didn’t use the right capitalization on the right letters, the same is true in family law. No two cases are like because no two people, no two relationships, no two marriages, no two children are alike. While there are common themes—custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, property distribution—the facts are always case specific. In family law, this is referred to be as being fact sensitive. Every fact, whether big or small, matters. It is the details that will build a case and conversely, it is the details that will take it apart, too.
We often hear “Well, my friend said that they don’t have pay their spouse alimony so why should I?” or “My cousin got alimony of x amount of dollars for y amount of years and she worked more than me so I should get at least that, right” or “my neighbor got sole custody and his ex isn’t as bad as mine so…” Every case is unique and if you were to place two seemingly identical cases side by side, they may look a lot alike, but one single factor, just one, can result is a completely different outcome. Because the details are very important, that one factor could make all the difference between the two cases compared.
We cannot overstate how important it is to convey to your attorney the facts, ALL of the facts. Do not attempt to decide what is important enough to share and what isn’t. Let your attorney figure that out. Your attorney will know what a meaningful factor is and what isn’t. If you hold back and try to determine for yourself what is important and what isn’t, you may be unknowingly and unintentionally hurting your case. “The devil is in the details” so let your attorney know everything. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Remember, anything you tell your attorney in confidence is privileged and confidential. We aren’t here to judge you. Believe me you would not believe some of the things we’ve heard over the years. But don’t worry about that, because that’s not what is important. What is important is that the more we know the more we can help you. Don’t self-edit to the point you inadvertently hurt your case. That devil may just come back to haunt you.
Julie Burick, Esq is a Partner with Adinolfi & Packman, PA and focuses her practice on all aspects of Family Law and Divorce. Every case has its own details to manage. Contact Adinolfi & Packman for professional, trusted, experienced family law lawyers who can assess your custody and/or domestic violence case before your custody rights are impacted.